Panchatantra

Crane and Crab

There was a crane living near a pond. The crane was too old to catch a fish and it was a difficult task for him to arrange for food. The crane was thinking of some way out so that he could get his daily dose of fish. A brilliant idea struck his mind.

The crane sat near the bank of the pond with a sad face. When some of the fishes asked him, the crane began to cry. The crane said that a great astrologer had made a forecast that doom was around the corner for the creatures of that pond. He said that a severe drought would come which will make the pond dry. That would be the end of life for all creatures in the pond.

Help in Distress?

All fishes, crabs, frogs, etc. converged near the crane and were listening with rapt attention. They asked the crane, “You are quite wise because of your old age. Do you have any suggestion for us to save our lives?”


cunning crane and crab

The crane said that since he always flies in the sky so he had a fair idea of various ponds and lakes in the jungle. The crane said that there was a much larger pond which had plenty of water. He said that the pond was too big to be affected by even the most severe drought. The crane said that he could give them a ride to the bigger pond before it was too late. The crane also said that it was an opportunity for him to pay back for what he got from that pond. All the fishes, crabs, frogs, etc. agreed to this.

Thus, happy times were back again for the crane. Every day, he used to carry one of the fishes on his back. But instead of taking them to the promised bigger pond, the crane used to devour them.

Crab in Breakfast

One day, the crane thought that he had had enough of fish and he should eat something else to change his taste. He asked a crab to hop on his back. The crab was quite happy to grab that offer. When the crane was soaring high in the sky, the crab was amazed to see the vastness of the landscape. While he was enjoying the flight, his eyes fell on a huge heap of fish skeletons. He enquired about that heap from the crane. The crane told him the reality and said, “You should begin your last prayer because I am going to finish you off.”

The crab was quick to react. He grabbed the crane’s neck in its strong claws and killed the crane instantly. That is how the greedy crane met its end.

The moral of the story is, “Don’t believe on hearsay and always try to assess the authenticity of information.”